Strengthening Our Spiritual Home
THIS PAST YEAR WE WELCOMED our two new clergy to the parish as part of our vision to strengthen our spiritual home at St. Andrew’s. We have seen Margaret and Cat bring new energy and programs to St. Andrew’s. They have also developed pastoral relationships with parishioners and drawn in new members
Our stewardship theme for 2017 focuses on securing this progress by raising the funds necessary to continue to grow programs that only a fully staffed clergy team can execute. Over the next two years, our clergy team will offer innovative programs in response to our parish survey, which will help address our spiritual needs and God’s wishes for us in our complicated world. We have a number of initiatives planned, such as an updated informal Sunday evening service and a new educational series, Faith and Practice, to explore our faith more intentionally. These are the kinds of programs that allow us to realize our visions, but they are only possible through the continuous generosity of our congregation. We truly need your support to maintain and strengthen our spiritual home.
Chair, 2016 stewardship committee
From a practical viewpoint, stewardship is a shared responsibility and duty that we undertake to care for and maintain our parish and its missions. It is the combined energy and financial support of families and individual members that make possible all that we are and do as a parish. Pledges and gifts provide roughly 76% of the funds for our annual parish budget.
Members of the Episcopal Church are expected to support their parish through generous pledges of their time and talent (through volunteering) and treasure (through financial pledges). You are not required to pledge to attend services and participate in parish life, but we ask that you support your fair share of our parish expenses and operating costs, in proportion to your resources.
No, we don’t—it’s the other way around! Episcopal churches are usually financially independent, raising most of their operating funds from members. Unlike some churches (e.g. Roman Catholic), we are not funded from the top down. Your pledges or gifts go directly to our parish, and we are then charged an annual assessment to help fund the diocese, supporting it and the missions of the Episcopal Church throughout the world. This assessment (about $143,700 in 2016) is the second largest line item in our budget.
We are asking three things of all parishioners:
- Please pledge! Your pledge is a commitment to support St. Andrew’s financially in 2017. Goal: 300+ pledges
- Please increase your pledge! This year, we are challenged by the loss of several very generous donors. Please “Step Up” and be as generous as you can. Goal: $900,000+ in pledges & gifts
- Please pledge on time! Timely pledges are essential for prudent budgets and planning for 2017. Goal: 275 pledges in by Commitment Sunday, Nov. 13
We all receive many requests from worthwhile charities and organizations—but remember that St. Andrew’s depends on a relatively small number of pledges (~300) for the majority of its budget. Please give St. Andrew’s a high place in your annual giving, and make a pledge that feels to you like a major gift!
This is a very personal decision, but there are guiding principles. The Biblical tithe of 10% of income is a worthy goal, and some members joyfully reach this pinnacle. At St. Andrew’s, we suggest an initial goal of 2% of income, and encourage you to move up in increments of 1% of income towards a full (or fuller) tithe. Our average gift in 2016 was $3000.
Whatever level of giving you are at, we ask that you consider increasing your pledge for 2017, making the most generous pledge you can. You can see the general distribution of pledges for 2016 in the Step Up chart below. We encourage you to examine the chart, examine your heart, and if you are able, Step Up for 2017!